The Compro VideoMate E700 is an ultra-compact PCI-E card (with spare blanking plate for low-profile PCs) sporting a pair of DVB-T free-to-air tuners.
- The ability to schedule a PC power-up and shut down when it's about to record or when it has recorded a program
- An MCE-style user interface would've been better
The inexpensive Compro VideoMate E700 delivers the digital AV goods with aplomb - given a decent aerial it will display good quality standard definition images. Although the comprehensively featured ComproDTV 3.0 software isn't bad, an MCE-style user interface would be more convenient for ordinary TV viewing.
This contrasts with the Compro VideoMate T750, a PCI card TV Tuner, supporting both terrestrial analogue and DVB-T standards as well as FM radio.
As a consequence, the Compro VideoMate E700 has the very useful ability to let you watch one free-to-air channel while recording another -- and then some.
The Compro VideoMate E700 is supplied with the same ComproDTV 3.0 tuning software, which can, given the right hardware, let you watch as many as six 'pictures in picture', though you'll need a top-end Core Duo to do this.
The Compro VideoMate E700 lacks, however, the S-Video and composite inputs of the Compro VideoMate T750. It also lacks support for MHEG-5, which means no interactive services are supported, which is just as well as the remote lacks the proverbial red button.
Installation is straightforward and the Compro VideoMate E700 is Windows Vista certified. As before, ComproDTV 3.0 has a veritable laundry list of features and it'll let you do the usual time-shifting, pausing and scheduled recording. Programs can be recorded to a hard disk or straight to DVD if you wish.
Once again recording formats are a bit restricted -- only MPEG-2 and Transport Stream is supported. The ComproDTV 3.0 software is highly configurable: for example you can customise and store the picture and audio settings for each TV channel. Also in the box is DVD playback and authoring software, so the Compro VideoMate E700 is well stocked with goodies.
Like the T750, the Compro VideoMate E700 can control your PC's on/off button: it has the clever ability to schedule a PC power-up and shut down in order to record a program, a big plus in our view. You can also use the supplied remote to do this.
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